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How big a part do you suppose domestic cats play in the decline of British and Irish garden birds/song birds?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2010.10  

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Random Panther 
Asked at 2010.10.19 21:49:49
I'm wondering how guilty I should feel for having an outdoor cat.(Although in his defence he's a terrible hunter,the only thing he's caught{to my knowledge} is a sparrow with an already broken wing)
<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3337212/Garden-birds-decline-by-20-per-cent-in-four-years.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthne…</a>
answer Ambivalent LAUreate  Answered at 2010.10.19 21:49:49
I don't think it's a major factor. Firstly, the decline over four years, from 2008 to 2004 was not, to the best of my knowledge, concurrent with an increase in the domestic cat population. Secondly, the species that seem to have done well and badly don't correspond to my experience of the birds cats are most likely to get - none of my outdoor cats ever caught a thrush, but siskins were taken relatively frequently (but siskins increased and thrushes decreased during the four years considered in the article).

I don't presume that my experience is typical, not least because I live in a pretty isolated place, over half a mile from the next house, but my last group of three cats (all sadly now gone) included one who never caught birds but did a great deal to keep the rabbit population down; one who had survived, when living wild before I got him, on pheasants and never showed the remotest interest in small birds until his dotage when he caught two siskins; and a horrible little bird-snatcher whose prey was siskins and (very sadly) wrens, before I got a bell on her.

it's interesting that goldfinch numbers are so much on the rise That's certainly true here - I hadn't realised it was a national phenomenon. I sometimes see eight all at once, and a bonny sight they are, too.
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